Book Review: Out of the Depths

Book about USS Indianapolis
Out of the Depths
An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival Courage and Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
By Edgar Harrell USMC, and David Harrell

About the Book
The Inspiring true story of a world war II hero's miraculous survival at sea. July 30, 1945 - The USS Indianapolis and its 1,196 man crew is making its way toward a small island in the South Pacific. The ship is sailing unescorted assured by headquarters the waters are safe. It is midnight and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend the night in their hot and muggy quarters below. Fresh off a top-secret mission to deliver uranium for the atomic bombs that would ultimately end World War II they are unaware their ship is being watched. Minutes later, six torpedoes are slicing toward the Indy… For five horrifying days and nights after their ship went down, Harrell and his shipmates had to fend for themselves in the open seas. Plagued by dehydration exposure, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks, their numbers were cruelly depleted before they were miraculously rescued. This is one man's story of courage, ingenuity and faith in God's providence in the midst of the worst navel disaster in U.S. history.

"To keep us all together through the massive crests of waves, our dwindling little group formed a circle and fastened our life jackets to one another. Those who didn't have a jacket hung on to someone who did. As our bodies packed in the open sea we began to realize that the sun was transitioning from friend to foe. It soon blistered our previously chilled and now exposed flesh. We tore our clothing to make protective hoods, but the ultraviolet rays reflecting off the water still managed to find our skin.  The bright glare forced us to squint our res until our facial muscles become utterly exhausted. Our eyes also burned from the caustic saltwater waves that constantly splashed in our faces. Late on the first day around dusk we had company. To our horror, we saw several large black dorsal fins cutting through the water and circling the group. I cannot describe the fear…"

Edgar Harrell, USMC ownded and operated a Pella Window distributorship in Rock Island Illinois for thirty-five years, served for fifteen years on the board of Moody Bible Institute and has been a lay minister throughout his adult life. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, Ola, enjoying their two children eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Edgar speaks extensively around the United States about his survival at sea. 

My Thoughts
I normally don't do book reviews but I had to for Out of the Depths. Although the USS Indianapolis is a very famous disaster, and there is actually a monument dedicated to the victims near where I live, I had never heard of it. I'm glad though that I read this book and learned not only about the disaster but about Edgar Harrel. This man is a huge inspiration. Just reading about his four days of horrors, is almost too much for me, so I can't even comprehend what it would have been like to go through it. The fact that he was able to hold strong when so many others were not able to, it would have been so easy to drink the saltwater. Out of the Depths is all about how is faith helped him to survive not only his four days at sea but also the years afterwards. 

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